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Homer City Council offers city manager position to Melissa Jacobsen

Sabine Poux
/
KBBI

The Homer City Council offered City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen the city manager position at their June 2 meeting.

Jacobsen was one of three candidates the council interviewed for the position. The council interviewed Randy Robertson and Jefferson Dubel on Monday evening . Jacobsen has worked for the city for 20 years, first as a deputy clerk and mostly recently as city clerk. She became the interim city manager after the city terminated its contract with Rob Dumouchel in March.

During the interviews, the council gave candidates the opportunity to introduce themselves before diving into eleven prepared questions. The final question asked by Councilmember Donna Aderhold called for candidates to talk about opportunities and challenges the city will face.

Jacobsen brought up the problem of providing services while trying to be conservative with spending. But she said she’s excited to see projects move forward such as a feasibility study for expanding the city’s harbor and building a new recreation center.

“I think there's a lot of great things in our future,” she said, “there's always challenges with with the financial piece, but I feel like we've got a good group and we've got a good citizenry and I think our future is bright.”

After Jacobsen’s interview, the council went into an executive session to privately discuss next steps instead of keeping discussions public. Alaska’s Open Meetings Act allows government bodies to speak in private on “subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any person, provided the person may request a public discussion.” Councilmember Rachel Lord supported going into the executive session so that the council members could speak freely without the potential to publicly say something unfair about the candidates.

“Ultimately, this is a hiring decision by the council and, and the tender nature of talking about specific people and in our community, beyond our community, internally on staff, I just, I really support us going into each session with a mind to come out and be able to enunciate our rationale clearly,” she said.

After an over hour-long session, the council unanimously approved offering the position to Jacobsen. Lord says the council discussed each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses before going with Jacobsen for the position.

“We discussed, with Melissa specifically, the strength of her time as interim manager, and how, how strongly she's been able to step into that space and help move the city through this interim period,” she said.

Aderhold said during council member comments she thought the hiring process went smoothly.

“I really appreciated the conversation that we had and the really deep consideration that we all put to examining each of the candidates that we interviewed and talking about the merits of each of each person. And I'm very, very happy with our decision,” she said.

No dates have been set as of Wednesday afternoon, but the council will meet with Jacobsen to negotiate the terms of a contract before she decides on accepting the job.

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Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at jamie@kbbi.org to send story ideas.
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